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Vinyl-lined pools: one-third the cost, but how do they look and last? Favorable answers.

Vinyl-lined pools: one-third the cost, but how do they look and last? Favorable answers

In-ground vinyl pools hold some real surprises,but foremost is the way they look. Unlike their aboveground, metal-framed cousins, they have the same general appearance as more costly plastered pools. Surrounded by decks or terraces made of concrete, brick, or wood, they settle seamlessly into gardens and give little hint of their make-up.

Equally attractive is their price--typically25 to 35 percent that of a plastered pool the same size. The cost can drop even further if--don't blanch!--you're willing to build it yourself. The pool and spa at left were designed and built by Susie and Peter Stevenson of Del Mar, California. The pool cost about $3,000--including its filter and heater; the 4- by 4-foot vinyl spa, which uses the same filter and heater, ran about $500.

On these pages, we show four finishedvinyl-lined pools--slender rectangles of uniform depth--designed specifically for lap swimming. Liners can be specially fabricated for pools with irregular forms and varying depths.

How the pools are made

As the pictures above show, such poolsstart as holes just slightly larger than their finished size. (The four-part sequence at the top of the page shows three different pools.) If there is no room for a tractor--the situation facing the Stevensons --the holes can be dug by hand. To save on digging, the pools can also rise up to 2 feet above ground level. These elevated sides can serve as benches or retaining walls for raised planters filled with the excavated soil.

All but the Stevensons' pool were designedand built by Mike Zukose of Accent on Pools, San Diego. For the perimeter frames, Mr. Zukose uses wood: redwood posts and pressure-treated wood (pressure-treated plywood could also be used). He lines lower side walls and bottoms with sand and lays insulating foam against the upper sections of wood.

The Stevensons built up their side wallsby using steel reinforcing bars to tie reinforced-concrete blocks to a poured perimeter footing. They lined the bottoms of both their pool and spa with a 2-inch layer of concrete pool-base aggregate mixed with cement--a lightweight mixture that can be applied with trowels. Like Mr. Zukose, they also laid insulating foam on the walls.

The vinyl: custom-fitted to your pool

Soft and pliable, the liners are made witha 20-mil vinyl that is custom-fitted to your pool's dimensions. The vinyl contains ultraviolet-light inhibitors and a bacteriostat that cuts mildew problems and reduces algae growth--and lets you use less chlorine.

Unlike plaster, vinyl contains no mineralsfor the water to leach from the walls, so you'll have no problem with residue build-up and needn't even consider the prospect of costly--albeit infrequent--acid baths.

You can order the vinyl in a variety ofcolors and prints. It's guaranteed for 10 years, and replacement costs are quite low: for a 4-foot-deep, 10- by 40-foot pool, the suggested retail price for a replacement liner is $700.

Liner edges fit into a rigid PVC trackmounted to the face of the pool frame. The vinyl is quite forgiving and stretches to conform to the pool's contours and any irregularities. It's thick enough to withstand normal jabs and pokes--but sharp objects can puncture it. If that happens, though, you can patch it with an inexpensive kit without removing the water.

Perhaps the biggest difference between aplastered pool and a vinyl one is its feel. Rather than being hard and abrasive, the vinyl is smooth and soft to the touch.

Cost, plans, and local builders

Using the Zukose-designed pools as a reference,building the slightly elevated 10- by 40-foot lap pool at bottom right would cost a total of about $7,000. Because of its brick decking, the 9- by 36-foot model at top right would cost about $9,000.

For a list of vinyl pool builders we knowof, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Vinyl Pool Report, Sunset Magazine, 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, Calif. 94025. If you're interested in the do-it-yourself approach, the list also includes a mail-order source for plans with working drawings.

Photo: Owner-built pool and spa sit in easy-care deck of 2-foot-square grids laid in a crisscross pattern. Drinks at far left sit on pump unit

Photo: 1. Planks set on edge define pool's width for smalltractor doing most of the excavating for slender lap pool. Job is finished by hand--with shovels

Photo: 2. Damp sand covers the sides and bottom. Workerscompact and smooth sand with plastering "floats.' Insulating foam protects the wood frame

Photo: 3. Liner gets stretched across pool in first step ofinstallation, then locked into track mounted to face of frame. This gray liner bears printed pattern

Photo: 4. Surrounding decks can take many forms. OwnersKaren and Franco Ferrandi of La Jolla, California, chose a single-level one made of used brick

Photo: Bricks top stucco-covered concrete blocks tomask two sides of wood-framed pool; edgelevel wooden decking lies over the other two

Photo: Redwood-ringed lap pool saves heating costswith dark bottom, roll-out insulating cover
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1987
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